Unemployment rose to 9.5 percent last month, the highest level we’ve seen in 26 years. That’s a staggering 14.7 million people without jobs. As we enter the 20th month of this recession, unemployment is becoming a way of life for many, and a lot more people are looking beyond unemployment benefits to the safety nets reserved for the extremely needy.

The New York Times:

The pace of job losses quickened in June after slowing just a month earlier, casting a shadow over the Obama administration’s attempts to stanch months of declines in the labor market.

The American economy shed 467,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent from 9.4 percent, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. Job losses were widespread among the construction, manufacturing, and business and professional services sectors.

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Meanwhile, Wall Street payouts are not dropping. They are, in fact, expected to exceed last year’s average. According to The Wall Street Journal, Goldman Sachs will be shelling out a whopping $20 billion (or $700,00 per employee) while Morgan Stanley’s payouts are expected to exceed last year’s packages, reaching an average $340,000.

The Wall Street Journal:

Business is back on Wall Street. If the good times continue to roll, lofty pay packages may be set for a comeback as well.

Based on analysts’ earnings forecasts for 2009, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is on track to pay out as much as $20 billion this year, or about $700,000 per employee. That would be nearly double the firm’s $363,000 average last year, and slightly higher than the $661,000 for the average Goldman employee in fiscal 2007, according to analyst estimates reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

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Goldman Sachs and the other Wall Street elites are thus continuing down the same path of profiting handsomely off the mess they’ve created, and laughing (at the taxpayers) all the way to the, uh, bank.

As Robert Scheer put it in his March 17 column:

“What we have here is a rare glimpse into the workings of the billionaires’ club, that elite gang of perfectly legal loan sharks who, in only the most egregious cases, will be judged as criminals—Bernard Madoff, former chairman of NASDAQ, comes to mind. These other amoral sharks, who confiscated billions from shareholders and the 401(k) accounts of innocent victims, were rewarded handsomely, rarely needing to break the laws their lobbyists had purchased.”

Read the rest of Scheer’s analysis here.


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